The Defiance City Board of Education heard from superintendent Bob Morton about food service issues, as well as food service staff issues during its regular meeting Wednesday evening.
In addition, the board heard from member Cathy Davis about recognizing staff who are garnering recognition from the public.
In his report, Morton discussed difficulties procuring items in food service. In addition to problems securing cutlery and foam trays, there has been difficulty getting ground beef, chicken and school pizzas. He went on to say the last two orders the district has been able to secure the desired food items.
“We have had some issues in procurement with food service, which is not unique to us, it’s getting better, but I wanted to make you aware,” said Morton. “Because of the difficulty procuring some food items, we’ve had to change lunch menus, we’ve had to have different lunch menus for the different buildings, but we’re finally getting back to our planned menu for the year.”
Morton then shared there are still positions in the district that need to be filled to have a complete staff, all of which also deal with food service. He went on to share that staff working in the cafeterias have been doing additional duties to make sure the work is getting completed.
Those positions include: Defiance Elementary School — cashier, three hours (could use a cook for this position or hire another server); server, three hours; and dishroom, three hours. Defiance High School — cashier, 3.5 hours (could use a cook for this position or hire another server); and dishroom, 3.5 hours.
“Just like the rest of society when it comes to food service, we need people,” said Morton. “We need four people at our elementary school and three at our middle school/high school, we are very short staffed. We need people to apply for these jobs, and we’re struggling to get them. Again, it’s not just us, this is everywhere.”
Davis asked about having current food service staff spread the word about the openings to family and friends, and about the possibility of the district offering a “finder’s fee” or some sort of compensation. When asked if there was a possibility of students helping, Morton shared that students who are 18 who have met the requirements for graduation, may be able to help, and be paid to do so.
As far as younger students, they would not be able to fulfill the duties for the entire time a worker is needed.
In new business, Davis shared the district’s Communication Committee recently met and discussed how two members of staff were recently acknowledged on social media for their work ethic, and how they’ve helped students succeed at Defiance City Schools (DCS).
The committee spoke about recognizing those staff members, and future staff members, who are recognized by the public for their dedication to students and the district. The committee decided to make cards for the two employees, and future employees, so the board could thank them for what they do.
“I know how dedicated our staff are, but when I see how they’re being recognized by the public, it’s a big deal to me,” said Davis. “I ask the public to continue to put it out there how are staff are making a difference.”
In other business, the board:
• approved the same level of contributions that the board is making to Health Savings Accounts (HSA) to staff who have a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA).
• accepted the resignation of Jared Hull, Defiance Elementary 3-5 second-shift custodian, effective Oct. 14.
• OK’d the employment of Kerri Thompson-Urivez, substitute cafeteria; effective for 2021-22.
• voted for several winter supplemental contracts for 2021-22.
• approved the list of substitute teachers by the NwOESC for 2021-22.
• OK’d the following students activites and principal accounts: high school principal (revision); Defiance High School DECA (revision); Student Boosters (revision); Defiance Elementary School Student Council (revision); DECA Spirit Store (revision); and Defiance Middle School Student Council.
• accepted the following donation: craft supplies and decorations from JoAnn Fabrics with an estimated value of $3,600.